DANCES WITH VOL-AU-VENTS
Struggling to make a decision about a change in career direction, a friend of le Chef's had a vivid dream. In it, he was face to face with a wolf on the edge of some woods. Suddenly, he turned into a wolf himself and the two of them ran off into the woods together. He woke up and decided to take the job which meant moving his family from Scotland to Seattle. After a short while there, he happened to meet a wolf-tracker and mentioned the dream. The tracker explained that the wolf symbol was very important to Native Americans, and the dream had been a 'sign': "Run with the wolves," it was saying. He had done the right thing taking the job. He subsequently went on expeditions with the tracker, and bought a piece of land deep in the woods where he built a house, in which he now lives with his wolf and two cubs... sorry, his wife and two kids.
So ever since we decided to move to France permanently, I've been on the look-out for a 'sign' and last night I think I got it. I had a very vivid dream about vol-au vents.
Yes, little bits of pastry with savoury fillings. In this particular dream, I had a revelation about the Perfect New Filling - but as with all great ideas that you come up with in dreams, it evaporated as soon as I woke up.
I think it involved anchovies.
I told all this to Le Chef, and asked if he thought it contained a message about my future. He said he hoped not, because if anchovies were involved, we were probably staring separation in the face. He's not a big anchovy fan.
But before I let it go completely, I remembered something else about the dream. It was in French. People around me were talking French and there was I, completely fluent. "Bien sur... des anchois!" I was saying, "Des tomates... des poivrons rouges..." it was all rolling off my tongue like a native. Okay, so vol-au-vent fillings aren't exactly stretching my vocabulary. But I've started dreaming in French. This is definitely a revelation.
I think it's the yoga that's responsible. I go every Friday morning to a class in the local market town. It was my next door neighbour's idea. "It's great!" she insisted. "If you want inner peace and serenity, you've got to go. I'll pick you up." I agreed, knowing she wouldn't allow me any inner peace and serenity if I refused.
As it turns out, it has been relaxing. And I've noticed lately that when our teacher talks us into deep relaxation, I've stopped translating what she says and started simply to understand.
"That's what the dream was really saying," I said to Le Chef. "I'm dreaming in French - and it's thanks to the yoga. Orteils, chevilles, mollets"
"Mollets?" he asked.
"Calf muscles," I explained smugly. He looked unimpressed.
"Very useful," he replied, "I think I'll stick with Bertrand's 'phrase du jour'."
Bertrand runs the local gym. For some reason men don't do yoga. Men do gym. Le Chef decided to build some physical activity into his writing schedule and has been going every day before lunch. And Bertrand's been teaching him things like, "Quoi de neuf?" (What's new?) and "La vie est trop courte pour boire la piquette" (Life's too short to drink plonk). Useful stuff.
So off he went today, wearing tennis shorts instead of his usual jogpants partly because the sun was shining and partly because I was interpreting dreams when I should have been doing the laundry. And when he came back I asked what useful phrase Bertrand had come up with today. Le Chef's eyes narrowed. "He didn't have one," he replied. "He got sidetracked..."
"What do you mean?"
"He watched me walking across the car park, and when I got in, he spoke to me for the first time in English, well partly in English, he said, 'Please geeve me your mollets! They are so beeg!'"
"So - don't you think that's weird?"
"What, mollet envy? I don't know. You have got big mollets."
"But isn't it weird that he should use the word, the very same day you told me it."
"You mean... the very same day you said it would be of no use to you?"
"Well, it's obviously a sign."
"Yes - telling you to... 'Run with the mollets' "
Obviously the move here was the right thing...